SHARING THE LOVE: 13 Primary schools get tablets

Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.

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Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service

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News for Week of November 28, 2021
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Entities get millions for projects in five parishes

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Positive Pathways Initiative has awarded 14 grants, valued at a total of J$21 million combined, to community organisations that will support more than 500 parents, caregivers, and youth.

The organisations will be responsible for implementing programmes that will assist in the prevention of youth crime and violence. They are located across the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon, and St. James.

Seven of them received the Community Peacebuilding Grant, which focussing on developing activities for improved pathways to achieve peace for youth, using their caregivers and parents.

They are the Violence Prevention Alliance in collaboration with the Jones Town Primary School, Kingston; Forward Step Foundation, St. Catherine; Peace and Love in Society, Clarendon; Family and Parenting Centre, St. James; Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Kingston; Sandals Foundation, St. James; and Salt Spring Community Development Committee Benevolent Society in St. James.

The Institute of Law and Economics, St. Catherine, in collaboration with USAID Governance for Local Development (Project GOLD), the Peace and Love Society branches in Kingston and Clarendon and the Jones Town/Craig Town Benevolent Society in Kingston, all received the Social and Behavioural Science grants.

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Laptop vouchers coming for 5,000 educators

About 5,000 public school educators will get electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) to purchase laptop computers in December, under the ‘Laptop for Teachers’ programme, being developed by e-Learning Jamaica Limited (e-Ljam).

Project Manager for the ‘Own Your Own Device’ initiative at e-Ljam, Seymour Rhoden, said that the e-vouchers will enable teachers to visit an approved vendor location to purchase a laptop that meets the entity’s minimum specifications.

He said that teachers will receive the e-voucher via email or SMS text messages.

Mr. Rhoden informed that the list of teachers slated to benefit under the initiative is to be provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information.

“Once that is done… the data will be uploaded into the ‘Own Your Own Device’ system and vouchers issued to the intended teachers,” he explained.

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‘Xplore Jamaica’ is ready for download… get it!

Locals and visitors to the island now have access to a mobile application (app) that provides information on various licensed and coronavirus (COVID-19)-compliant tourist entities within the six resort areas.

The app, called ‘Xplore Jamaica’, includes features such as a travel guide with cost estimator and a complete travel blog to capture user reactions and comments. It also has the ability to view restaurants and shops near the visitor’s place of stay, and the availability of the information in nine languages.

The app is available for download free from the Google Play Store.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett noted that with the pandemic, access to information has become even more important.

“I applaud TPDCo for its efforts to tap into this technological era and revolution, where Gen-Z, in particular, is keen on working smart and not hard, and expect to find all they need at the click of a button,” said the minister.

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Minister of Education Fayval Williams (centre) joins Minister of Transport Robert Montague (2nd left); and Chief Executive Officer of the Toll Authority Lerone Laing (left), in presenting tablets to benefit students from rural schools. Receiving the tablets are students from Iona High in St Ann, Anastacia Henry (foreground) and Tewalie Reid (3rd right); principal of St Ann’s Bay Primary Trevor Cole (2nd right); and guidance counsellor at Iona High Kareen Purcell Bourne.

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Power Gift
Power Gift

Leisa Batiste-Whyte (left), general manager at South Jamaica Power Company and Antonette McKoy-Nembhard (2nd left), administrative assistant, present tablets to grade-five students Samuel Lewis (3rd left) and Jaden Matthews (3rd right) at Old Harbour Bay Primary. With them are principal Sandra Clarke-Morrison (2nd right) and vice-principal Kimeka Hayles-Watson.

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Pineapples
Pineapples

A representative from the Annotto Bay Fire Station shows off her freshly picked JP St Mary’s pineapple alongside JP St Mary’s Assistant Depot Manager Simone Saunderson during a handover of care packages with the vitamin C-rich fruit to the Fire Brigade. The donation by JP St Mary’s is part of an overall initiative to encourage essential workers to eat healthy foods to boost their immune systems.

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Toll Support
Toll Support

Minister of Education Fayval Williams (centre) joins Minister of Transport Robert Montague (2nd left); and Chief Executive Officer of the Toll Authority Lerone Laing (left), in presenting tablets to benefit students from rural schools. Receiving the tablets are students from Iona High in St Ann, Anastacia Henry (foreground) and Tewalie Reid (3rd right); principal of St Ann’s Bay Primary Trevor Cole (2nd right); and guidance counsellor at Iona High Kareen Purcell Bourne.

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Pilot a success, now it’s time for the real deal

Prime Minister Andrew Holness officially launched the National Coding in Schools Programme, which will benefit 400,000 students from grades one to 13, and 15,000 teachers in public schools across Jamaica.

This follows the successful pilot programme through partnership with software firm, Amber Innovations Group Limited. The pilot was conducted virtually in 20 schools and involved the engagement of about 2,000 students in grades four and nine.

For this full roll out, telecommunications company, Digicel, has partnered with the Amber Group to co-sponsor the programme.

“Through the Coding in Schools Programme, (students) will acquire basic numeracy, language, and problem-solving skills, which are the prerequisites for coding,” said the prime minister. He noted that “too many of our students are leaving school without these basic functional skills.”

Prime Minister Holness noted that as Jamaica seeks to become a digital society, the need for coders is becoming increasingly evident, as the country had to quickly adapt to using technology to bring services to the population through virtual platforms

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Farmers to grow castor oil plants for State

The Ministry of Transport and Mining, through the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), is partnering with small farmers to boost cultivation of the castor oil plant to produce biodiesel for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC).

Portfolio Minister Robert Montague said that the Ministry will be moving to secure 5,000 acres of “unclaimed lands” to begin growing the castor plant.

Minister Montague said that Jamaica has the capacity to manufacture and distribute castor oil on a large scale. “We are moving with the JBI to institute a castor oil project. We have just signed off on a big deal with a company to supply the JUTC with biodiesel,” he said, adding: [We subsequently] discovered that the mineral oil they use, the element they use is [actually] castor oil…that they actually import from India… and we can grow castor oil right here in Jamaica.

“So, what we are moving to do is to plant up a lot of these reclaimed lands with castor oil, [process it] and sell it to this company… and the JBI will be leading that process to plant some 5,000 acres of castor oil.”

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